SERIOUS doubts have been cast over claims that the Javelin Park incinerator would save £150 million over 25 years.

According to the South West Green Party, the mass burner - designed to process household refuse from across the county - could actually end up costing taxpayers more than £100 million over the same period because waste figures used to justify the project are vastly over inflated.

Recent figures show that county households are producing around 50,000 tonnes of waste less per year than the incinerator business plan projected.

Therefore, say the Greens, the financial case for the £500 million waste plant, drawn up in 2008, is deeply flawed.

Gloucestershire County Council has repeatedly stated that it would save £150 million because burning rubbish would mean an end to landfill, which is taxed.

However, the recently revealed figures show that households are currently producing approximately 20 per cent less waste than GCC had anticipated.

Even taking into account future increases in household waste, the Greens say that rather than saving £150 million over 25 years, the incinerator would actually cost £75 million.

The Greens also say another £30 million worth of estimated savings will be wiped out because the Government recently abolished the Landfill Allowance Trading Scheme (LATS).

In total, therefore, the Greens estimate that county taxpayers could be around £105 million worse off if the incinerator is built.

The party also claims this was evident when GCC conducted a strategic review of the development early last year.

However, GCC insists the scheme is still financially viable.

It says the reduction in household waste has been caused by the recession and that it will increase once the economy picks up.

The Greens refute this argument though, saying the reduction is the result of improved recycling rates and less packaging.

If the incinerator is built, the Greens fear that GCC could start importing industrial waste from outside the county to compensate for the shortfall and to keep the facility running.

Green Party supporter Gerald Hartley, who is also a member of the GlosVAIN anti-incinerator group, said: "We believe that GCC failed in its duty to take account of available data in 2008 to assess and again in 2011 to re-assess the impact of reduced waste."

District councillor Catherine Farrell (Green, Nailsworth) said: "It is supposed to operate for 25 years but GCC cannot successfully project the need even five years into the future.

"The county council is gambling with our money, our resources and our landscape."

However, Cllr Stan Waddington, GCC champion for waste, defended the figures.

"The savings figure is re-calculated at regular intervals and the last time this was done was December last year," he said.

"The changing tonnages have been reflected in this calculation and it has been checked by our advisers and audited.

"We are currently predicting savings of up to £150 million but we will continue to review this right up to the point of awarding the contract, however with landfill tax £80 per tonne by 2015 doing nothing is not an option."

Following a meeting last week, Stonehouse Town Council has now written to GCC objecting to the scheme as part of the public consultation, which finishes on Tuesday, April 17.

Members write that it 'could prove to be deleterious to the economy, natural environment and the vitality and health of the community'.

To take part in the consultation go to GCC's website.